Finding a scanning service is difficult enough, not to mention finding the best book scanning service.
Still, there are good book scanning services around. What are the things that separate them though?
From our experience, the best book scanning service is that company which can scan with no further questions asked, most of your bound materials. They have to be able to scan standard books, old books and should also do magazine scanning.
Isn’t book scanning still scanning? What’s the big fuss?
No! Book scanning is very different compared to scanning a standard document.
That’s why nowadays, there are certain providers that focus on scanning books only. They are offering a specialized book scanning service.
First of all, they are using different equipment. While a document scanning provider is using mainly automatic document scanner, book scanning service providers use specialized book scanners.
Second of all, book scanning providers are focused on the quality of the final product and are less interested in the productivity. They are not scanning your average invoices. They could be scanning really old manuscripts or even photo books.
Third of all, the process is very time consuming and labor intensive, The more experienced operators you have, the better the results.
If you have a good image processing software, you can reduce the time required for each phase of the process.
In our quest to finding the best book scanning service, I think we should follow these 3 points we mentioned in this paragraph.
TIP 1: The choice of book scanning equipment
From our experience, any good book scanning service provider should have a combination of equipment:
A planetary book scanner – This is mandatory if you are doing book scanning. It allows you to scan face up, only flipping the pages through the process.
It is a good choice when you have to scan fragile material as only the pages are moving. The book remains still.
An automatic book scanner – Eventually you will get that large batch of books that need scanning quickly. Pay attention that you avoid scanning really fragile material.
An automatic book scanner has a lot of moving parts, so it’s better suited to standard books.
A low-resolution book scanner – This is usually a DSLR based book scanner. It allows you to move quickly through pages of bound documents that don’t require high scanning quality.
It’s built more for speed and less for quality.
An ADF Scanner – You will definitely get books that can have their spine removed. It is much faster to scan them on ADF scanners, than using your standard book scanning equipment.
TIP 2: A good book scanning service must deliver optimal quality
Yes, the best book scanning service has to have a very good quality when it comes to scanning.
The digital images that they output should be straight, have no speckles and no book curvature should be present.
The days when scanning a book on your copier was enough are long gone.
A lot of books have special designs and characters, making it almost impossible to deliver a good quality when scanned on a copier machine.
That is why your expectations must be very high from the book scanning provider.
First of all, he has to produce the best-looking image. This is mandatory, and it is the first step in the digitization process.
Second of all, that image must be enhanced and improved in such a way, that it delivers a very high level of OCR. By this, we mean that for a standard book it should be close to 99% accuracy.
The third aspect of quality is color accuracy. It is critical that all equipment has good color calibration. This must be performed frequently, sometimes even once a month.
TIP 3: Highly skilled workforce and workflow solutions are mandatory
Always check if the vendor you choose has a good workforce.
The better the human resources involved, the better the final product. For book scanning this is always the case.
If the operator is experienced he knows what he should deliver to the person doing the image processing. Same for the image operator. He knows what the guys in OCR need for very good results. With experience comes knowledge.
At the same time, the workflow is very important. The better it is, the lower the risk of missed pages, crooked scans or even damage happening to the original material.
We always say that the initial scan should be as good as it can be. With the solutions we currently use, we can deliver the perfect page from a good scan.
But we need a good input to be able to extract the most out of that scan.
The combination of experienced operators, good workflow tools and specialized software make for a very good if not the best book scanning service.
What you should remember when choosing a book scanning service next time
Good book scanning equipment will take you a long way.
Don’t accept scans on copiers. You will get both bad scans and also a damaged book.
Quality is mandatory. Remember, this is almost heritage scanning.
Demand nothing short of perfect scans. And it won’t cost you much more.
Ask about what experience the operators have and what workflow solutions the provider uses.
You don’t want to risk missed pages or even a damaged book.
Considering all these aspects, a provider that takes care of all the 3 can be considered the best book scanning service.